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What are the benefits of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber?

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Quick Answer

The FDA has found hyperbaric chambers beneficial in providing additional oxygen needed by the body for 13 healing uses, including treatment of burns, removal of air bubbles in the bloodstream, therapy for decompression sickness and restoring oxygen balance after carbon monoxide poisoning. However, according to the agency, many providers are offering hyperbaric chamber therapy for unapproved uses and making unsubstantiated claims of their benefits.

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Full Answer

In the approved uses of this type of therapy, the body benefits as the lungs gather up to three times the normal amount of oxygen from the air the person is breathing. According to the FDA, the body needs adequate oxygen for normal function, but the amount required for healing is greater than normal. With hyperbaric oxygen, the amount of dissolved oxygen in the blood increases, ultimately increasing the oxygen content at the site of the injury.

According to Mayo Clinic, the claims that a hyperbaric chamber benefits conditions including fibromyalgia, cancer, stroke or autism have insufficient evidence backing them. The therapy also includes risks. It causes temporary nearsightedness due to an increase of oxygen in the blood. In some individuals, the high oxygen concentration in organs leads to seizures. The increase in pressure has the potential to cause damage to the structure of the inner ear.

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